School Resource Officer Named Among Top O.C. School Employees

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By Daniel Langhorne | LB Indy

School resource officer Cpl. Cornelius Ashton and Laguna Beach High School Principal Jason Allemann at the Bowers Museum on Wednesday. Courtesy of Laguna Beach Police Department

LBUSD School Resource Officer Cpl. Cornelius Ashton was recognized by OC Parenting Magazine as one of the Top 25 Employees of Orange County Schools.

The public was invited to submit nomination essays for employees who demonstrate excellent performance, passion and going above and beyond expectations. A panel consisting of the magazine’s publisher and editor, as well as two teachers who are previous award winners, evaluated the essays and chose this year’s winners.

Ashton and his fellow award recipients were honored during a reception on Wednesday at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana.

“It definitely makes me believe even more in the importance of having a school resource officer on our campuses, because we’re really able to mentor kids and help them endure the struggles they’re facing every day,” Ashton said.

As school resource officers, Ashton and his partner Officer Fred Yeilding have the freedom to be continuously involved with students both on-campus and at home. Ashton has worked with students struggling with their parents’ divorce, academic pressure, and issues stemming from social media, drug addiction and mental health.

The Instagram account @lagunabeachpd_sro has essentially become a 24-hour hotline for Laguna Beach students who need to speak with Ashton or Yeilding.

“I’ve had kids call me in trouble from parties, or if kids have had too much to drink, we are able to get them help,” Ashton said.

Laguna Beach Police Chief Laura Farinella said in a statement that she’s very proud of Ashton’s achievement.

“SRO Ashton has worked hard in the past year to engage our youth and be there for them as a mentor and coach,” she wrote. “Building trust between law enforcement and the youth in our community is a priority, and the Laguna Beach Unified School District has been an outstanding partner in helping us fulfill this goal through our School Resource Officer program. “

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